It is true. Zanzibar captivated me. The Union Day long weekend holiday offered another opportunity to head over last weekend. Zanzibar is such an incredibly wonderful respite from the hustle of Dar es Salaam. No traffic, people take their time, people say hello regularly, and it is also a place to find amazing seafood. A restaurant in Stone Town makes what they call a seafood casserole, which might also be described as a cioppino with a coconut and lemongrass broth, huge whole langostines, pieces of fish, and cracked crab. It is delicious, and each time I've enjoyed it I have taken my time, savoring every moment of eating it.
Our colleague Donna joined us for the weekend from Nairobi, which made the weekend all the more special. She is working with a group of flying doctors, going to remote areas throughout East Africa a performing urologic surgery. It was wonderful to be with her and enjoy her warmth and sense of humor.
Of particular note this trip was our visit to the Jozani Forest National Park. At the park we walked through the beautiful mahogany forest, the mangrove swamp, and the highlight of the trip, visited a troop of red colobus monkeys. After the 25 or so monkeys got used to our presence, they started showing off and coming closer and closer. They seemed to be in a near-constant flurry of activity all around us as we stood under the big breadfruit tree where they swung from branch to branch, performed aerial acrobatics, and played what looked like "king of the branch" where each monkey tried to topple a monkey sitting on one swinging branch. They were clearly enjoying themselves and seemed completely at ease with our presence. I shot a video, which I will upload to YouTube when I have an internet connection that can accommodate the file size.
Stone Town is also a place that sees a lot of tourists, although it is currently rainy season and few are visiting. Of particular interest to me are the textiles, which are spectacular, and particularly the scarves they sell seemingly everywhere. They are the perfect gift - light, easily transportable, and something unlikely to be readily found at home. My colleagues suggested that maybe I could assuage my interest by finding them nice scarves rather than continuing to buy them (or more to the point suggested I was cut off from further purchases). A few vendors know me pretty well. I love the color combinations.
We also spent a few days up at Kendwa Beach again, another perfect day of sun, powdery white sand, and crystal clear warm water. I spent much of the day in the water, diving down to look at coral formations, anemones, and the colorful array of fish. During one foray into the water, I had two small bright yellow fish stay with me the entire time, maybe 30-45 minutes, swimming alongside, diving with me, and staying in my lap as I sat in shallow water. Lap fish! Who knew?